Dear Mum, this will no doubt surprise you somewhat to find me writing again so soon, but this week has been a week of decisions (as you may have gleaned from the last letter) and I guessed that you would probably be interested. ( ) Blank space for your comment.
Today has been particularly fruitful, more in the way of starting points than actual results, but it is the getting started that counts, isn’t it? First thing, in the morning mail was from the Catholic Introductions Bureau. If that strikes you as a little curious in any way, bear with me and I’ll explain. Life seemed to be going on in its own sweet way, but I’m afraid that without some real friend of the opposite sex it was also going in a rather dull way, and after the other night’s episode, which I mentioned previously, when nothing seemed to be appearing either career-wise or new friends-wise, and I absolutely begged the Good Lord for a bit of assistance, then it seemed I ought to take notice of any little hints of help the Lord might give me. I went to Mass the next morning and in the porch of the Church was an ad for this Bureau. Well, for a start I tried to ignore it, and went and did some shopping, but the Church was still open when I came back (it’s usually closed up in front after Mass) so I popped in the door and took a note of their address, and wrote off to them before I thought too much more about it, asking for some information. The next step is even more needful of that essentially human quality ˗ guts (!) ˗ but I think it would be foolish to stop at this stage.
It’s not that I don’t meet girls, though I’m not the world’s latest Casanova by any stretch of the imagination, but after H. and even perhaps M., I can only think it’s foolish to try and think of going on with a non-Catholic girl. As people, you know, H. and I would have got on fine, I think, and therein would have been quite successfully married, but ‘my conditioning’ as she put it (she didn’t have any conditioning, I presume, or else controlled it!) would obviously have got in the way entirely. By my conditioning of course she meant religion, in this case, anyway, and I suppose she felt she was fighting a losing battle with a lover who was even more important to me than she was. So that was some of the reasoning behind this first decision. I have no idea whether anything will come of it; it may even turn out to be more a mess than my previous forays into the fray, but sitting on my butt for the next fifty years just won’t be very exciting, so here goes!
Next thing in the mail was from Trinity College telling me that I’d left it too long to be able to do just a theory exam, as it’s five years since I did the practical, (I guessed it would be), so decision number 2two was to decide to take the exam in totum again. Now unless I’m organised about this, I thought, that will be as far as it goes, so I took decision number three and rang up Doris Berry, who teaches music, and asked her if she’d take on another pupil. She suggested the Associated Board (is it?) is in fact better as far as standard goes than Trinity, and since it doesn’t matter now, I may as well take their exam. So I’m going to have an hour a week with her, and she sounds quite keen to get to work ˗ like Miss Perry [my last teacher back home in Dunedin] she finds the idea of working with an adult pupil for a change quite a delight apparently. So!
Decision number four (still with me?) was to go out and buy a new pair of shoes. Did I tell you I bought a pair not long ago? Well, I just can’t wear them ˗ they crucify my heels, and no amount of Elastoplast on my heels helps, and anyway they don’t really look as good as they did when I bought them! I went to another shop this time, and the staff consisted of a middle-aged Cockney lady, and a young negro boy who served me, with the lady throwing in comments occasionally. (I arrived at the shop puffed out after having helped two other negroes to push a Jew’s car in order to get it to start: desegregation starts around here!)
What a difference it makes to feel in a good mood yourself ˗ suddenly the whole world is happy: even the miserable-looking people are only pretending. I have the happiest two butchers in London, I think: I never struck such an atmosphere of friendliness as is in that shop. They have each other on in a way one doesn’t see too much over here; it’s quite like home! Anyway, I’ve bought another, more expensive pair of shoes; I won’t be able to afford to buy any more clothes for years at this rate!
I have a fifth decision yet to make: this is more difficult somehow as it brings me back to point A again, concerning as it does repetiteuring. The Opera for All Auditions go on on Thursday, and David seems to think it’s worth my while to re-audition because so few of the reps there [at the Opera Centre] at present are interested in the London group. But it means trying to find something to audition with. I can’t use the same things again, and don’t want to. David tells me (and my ego inflates and fills the room) that he thinks I was the best pianist of last year’s lot, but of course as he knows and I know even better, I lack a good deal of the musicianship I ought to have. And he reckons Robertson has a soft spot for me for some reason (to do with NZ partly and with the fact that both R. and I are non-University men) and also that I’ve done the job before. So what to do? Down on my knees and get the Lord on me megaphone, I think. Love, Mike